Draft Notes: 2020 NFL Draft Dynasty Wide Receivers
Welcome to Part 2 of the draft notes series! You can check out part 1 on Running Backs here. Reminder, these aren’t rankings or tiered breakdowns just reflections based off watching game film from the current batch of receivers. If you don’t watch much College Football then use this as a reference point and introduction as you prep for draft season. Enjoy!
Henry Ruggs III, Alabama, Oakland Raiders (1st round, 12th overall) 5″11 188 lb
2019 Stats: 40 receptions, 746 yards, 8 touchdowns. Career production: 98 receptions, 1716 yards, 17.5 yards per catch, 24 touchdowns
The archetype of speed receivers has yielded lackluster results for many teams as they salivate over glorified track stars who put up insane 40 times yet lacked the technical refinement for success against NFL defensive backs snap to snap. Henry Ruggs doesn’t belong in the category of one dimensional speed threats like John Ross, Ted Ginn, or Darrius Heyward-Bey. Ran the 6th fast recorded 40 time at the NFL Draft combine after being clocked in at 4.27; Only behind John Ross, Chris Johnson, Dri Archer, Jerome Mathis, and Marquis Goodwin.
During his time at Alabama, Ruggs showed improvement on many of the most important nuances of the wide receiver position that separate the elite talents. His vertical gravity will be something secondaries have to prepare for from week 1. Ruggs has proven to be proficient at most of the concepts on his route tree. Creates separation at the line of scrimmage consistently by leveraging his downfield threat in tandem with his quick feet to put defensive backs on “skates” that allows him to find open space.
Solid hands, occasionally runs into issues against physical defensive backs that can impede his forward progress and muddy up his routes. The threat of getting beat over the top should allow Ruggs the ability to make plays in the short passing game where he can make one man miss and take it to the house, or simply just out run the entire defense.
On field awareness can improve with additional reps, at times you could tell his body was moving faster than he was processing the game: quick hitting routes where he was a half second slow to whip his head around and locate the football.
Dynasty outlook: The ghost of Al Davis is somewhere grinning from ear to ear over the Raiders making the speedster the first receiver taken in the draft. Dismissed too quickly as just another speed receiver, Ruggs is a more complete receiver than given credit for, and fast enough to swing fantasy matchups in the blink of an eye as a walking one play touchdown. His draft capital will have the highest amount of variance compared to Lamb & Jeudy and greatly depend on the amount of risk an owner is willing to take early in the first round. Sports Betting Dime currently gives Ruggs the third high odds for receivers to take home the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma, Dallas Cowboys (1st round, 17th overall) 6″2 200 lb
2019 stats: 62 receptions, 1,327 yards, 14 touchdowns. Career production: 40 games, 173 receptions, 3,292 yards, 32 touchdowns
Lamb’s collegiate career found him as a big play threat for three Heisman award finalists in Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurts. A tantalizing talent who pops on film, most complete all around receiver in this class who blends his impressive physical attributes with the technical acumen of a 10 year NFL veteran.
Lamb’s attention to detail is among the reason’s why his floor is extremely high as a prospect. Has the versatility to win in the slot or on the outside, pair that with the best hands of this crop of receivers. Regularly on deep balls, he shows the awareness to make subtle adjustments with the ball in the air that put him in prime position to finish the play.
Recorded 4.5 40 at the NFL Combine played a role in why Lamb was the 3rd receiver off the board during the draft. Quicker than Fast: Lamb’s top end acceleration may not compare to Henry Ruggs however he’s still extremely evasive as a ball carrier and can string together multiple nasty cut combos that that makes him a chore to tackle. Runs with enough power to run through arm tackles with regularity, while having quick feet that can also juke defenders out of their cleats.
Dynasty outlook: 62% of offensive snaps for the Cowboys took place in a 3 receiver set last year. Following a career year from Dak Prescott, Jerry Jones hasn’t yet given him the gift of a brand new contract extension, but he did go out and get his hands on one of the premier receivers in this draft. Ceede’s ability to work the middle of the field and find space in zone coverage should lead to a productive rookie campaign with upside for much more. Sports Betting Dime has Lamb at +1500 to take home the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama, Denver Broncos (1st round, 15th overall) 6″1 198 lb
2019 stats: 77 receptions, 1163 yards, 10 receptions; Career production: 159 receptions, 2742 yards, 17.2 yards per catch, 26 touchdowns
A blazer in the open field leaves defenders with a face mask full of dust if they take a bad step. Light feet which allows him to accelerate and go 0 to 100 out of cuts, elite route runner due to his elite change of direction that makes him one of the dangerous receivers in the class.
Versatility allows him to win both in the slot and flanked on the outside, due to his toolbox of techniques he can use to beat man coverage. Jeudy’s hands and feet work together in perfect harmony which allow consistently clean releases against press coverage.Keen awareness of situational football on important downs, knows how to manipulate defenders due to the amount of separation created out of aggressive cuts.
Strong hands, specializes in making contested catches working his way back towards the ball. Quick twitch athlete who has lightning fast reflexes with the ball that makes defensive coordinator should his breath for every second until he’s down.
The question that exists for Jeudy to prove at the next level include how he’ll be able to perform against press coverage going against the top defensive backs in the NFL. Has the tendency to dance around too much in certain run after catch circumstances where he would be better served to trust his acceleration skills. 4.46 40 time actually does a disservice in attempt to describe his open field speed, as he’s among the rare class of NFL athletes who seem to move quicker with pads on.
Dynasty outlook: Drew Lock has a new best friend in town, and his name is Jerry Jeudy. The allure of his value stems from the relative proximity of his floor outcome as a polished receiver. Already utilizes advanced tricks of the trade which gives him a role to play early in his career with the Broncos. John Elway’s offseason makeover of Denver’s skill group finds him within a scheme fit besides Courtland Sutton and KJ Hamler who all compliment each other.
The best talents at the position are the ones who don’t have to be schemed open by the offensive coordinator because the precision of each route they run is so clean that they find themselves always open, and that’s why Jeudy will require first round capital in all dynasty rookie drafts. According to SportsBettingDime, Jeudy currently holds +1300 odds to win NFL offensive rookie of the year.
Jalen Reagor, TCU, Philadelphia Eagles (1st round, 21st overall) 5″11 198 lb
2019 stats: 43 receptions, 611 yards, 14.2 yards per catch, 5 touchdowns. Career stats: 148 receptions, 2248 yards, 22 touchdowns
The son of former NFL defensive end Montae Reagor has a toolbox of raw skills that oozes potential with additional refinement that could make him a headache for defenses. Wiry build for a 5″11 frame that allows him to play larger than his listed physical dimensions and find success when making contested catches.
Eagles first round pick in 2019, Miles Saunders had his ball security issues that plagued him in college rear its ugly head early during his rookie season. Reagor fumbled 9 times over his past two seasons at TCU which is fatal flaw that must be addressed in order to see a steady number of snaps. Otherwise, with the ball in his hands he’s a threat to make a man miss and win foot races against defenders. Reagor’s burst score ranked in the 99th percentile according to Player Profiler workout metrics.
In an offense that drastically needs the presence of an gamebreaking big play threat to ease the creation burden on Carson Wentz, putting the pigskin on the grass would quickly find Reagor on the sideline taking mental reps. Effective route runner who gets skinny out of his breaks and leverage his explosive open field acceleration to keep defensive backs on their heels and in a compromised position.
Needs to improve being physical with his hands and upper body when clubbing for position at the line of scrimmage, Reagor tends to get happy feet on outside releases which can impede his route efficiency if the defender is able to jam him effectively. Sporadic production throughout his college career can be tied to suspect play from his quarterbacks at TCU. Pro Football Focus rated just 61.4 percent of his passes as “catchable”. That ranked 118th out of 120 wideouts [PFF
Dynasty Outlook: The Eagles gaping hole lacking a big play threat became apparent after the injury of Desean Jackson, at one point in the season were starting receivers even your most die hard fantasy football player has never heard of. Reagor enters a offense that drastically needs his natural skillset as the main long term big play option.
The relationship with Carson Wentz should be beneficial for each side as the chemistry grows. Reagor is a better all around receiver than given credit for who has the potential to breakout further with additional route running acumen. Sports Betting Dime has the odds at +2000 for Jalen Reagor to take home the award for NFL Offensive Rookie of the year.
Justin Jefferson, LSU, Minnesota Vikings (1st round, 22nd overall) 6″1 200 lb
2019 stats: 111 receptions, 13.9 yards per catch 1,540 receiving yards, 18 receiving touchdowns. Career stats: 165 receptions, 2415 yards, 24 touchdowns
Cerebral football player who shows a excellent football IQ on film, has great spacial awareness, knows how to use the full width of the field to make every route threatening which leads to more advantageous open field scenarios that allow him to beat defenders to the corner for big plays.
Baits defenders using slow motion hesitation steps on option routes that allow him to cut hard and give his QB an open window to fit the ball in. One of the premier slot receivers in this loaded group of receivers. Lined up in the slot on 81% of his snaps during LSU’s championship run. Crafty and patient route runner who excels as security blanket due to his penchant to finding open space against zone defenses and can win on the inside or outside.
Jefferson’s 4.43 40 yard dash time work in conjunction with his strong hands at the point of attack that allow him the ability to maintain his body control and make in air adjustments on aerial attempts down the field.
According to his Player Profiler workout metrics his speed score ranked in the 86th percentile among receivers, which is impressive considering his advanced technique of different pace variations on his routes.
Dynasty outlook: Justin Jefferson is one of the true gems of this stacked rookie class; reminds me a ton stylistically of the short but explosive peak of Victor Cruz and how he was able to be a safety valve in the intermediate and short passing game yet also fast enough to glide past defenders who chunk plays.
Adam Thielen spent a large percentage of his snaps from the slot over the past two seasons, but probably passes slot responsibilities over to Jefferson early in his career. Jefferson’s performance throughout LSU’s National title proved him to be a reliable threat at all times and his stat line in the Peach Bowl against Oklahoma where he threw up 14 receptions for 227 yards and 4 touchdowns an all time performance. Sports Betting Dime has the odds at +2000 for Justin Jefferson to win NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State, San Francisco 49ers (1st round, 25th overall) 6″ 205
2019 Stats: 65 catches, 1192 yards, 18.3 yars per catch, 8 Touchdowns. Career stats: 98 receptions, 1666 yards, 11 touchdowns
A mismatch in the open field with the potential to have a heavy yards after catch presence, should find a natural role in the heavy play action and misdirection passing scheme by Kyle Shanahan. A threat to break off chunk plays with regularity after he adjusts from receiver to ball carrier.
Hits top speed extremely quick off completed catches, and gets upfield with relative ease. Physical corners can slow him down once they’re able to get a hand on him, lacks enough versatility on releases to create separation. Aiyuk struggles to make contested catches in tight spaces when stymied by physically aggressive press cornerbacks. Needs to improve his hand strength which will be imperative towards his improvement at the next level; becoming a more complete receiver who can keep his balance and aid his quarterback by snatching balls out of the air would unlock another level of upside.
Swift route runner on all three phases in his route tree who can get low and explode out of his cuts & breaks to keep defensive backs on their heels. Weapon in the short passing game on screens, bubble screens, drags, and jet sweeps once the ball is in his hands due to his agility while moving laterally.
Dynasty outlook: The targets vacated by the departure of Emmanuel Sanders leaves a healthy amount of opportunity for someone to emerge as the clear cut third offensive option for the 49ers behind George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. Aiyuk could be a boom or bust option early in his career especially on a team with moderate passing volume, however this is a great scheme fit as he does possess many of the same traits that allowed Deebo Samuel to find early success in this offense. Make sure the draft capital is fairly priced and you could be sitting on a treasure in a few years. Sports Betting Dime has his odds at +3275 as a current dark horse for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Denzel Mims, Baylor, New York Jets (2nd round, 59th overall) 6″3 210
2019 Stats: 66 receptions, 1,020 yds, 12 TD, 15.5 yards per catch. Career stats: 185 receptions, 2925 yards, 28 touchdowns
Mims has the potential to make his slide to 59th overall seem foolish in short order. Not your run of the mill slow footed big receiver; his 4.38 40 time at the combine shows his strength at creating separation at the line of scrimmage using both his hands to dislodge a pressing defensive back, but also by being fast enough to get a clean release due to his hand and feet moving in synchronization. Additional progress to his already burgeoning prowess as a route runner while lowering the frequency of his concentration drops on catches he can make would go far towards his future development.
With the wingspan of a NBA wing, Mims uses his tools to make himself a dangerous threat with the ball in the air on contested catches, simply by having the catch radius and body control to make ridiculous mid air adjustments and box out defenders. Impressively light on his feet for someone his size which allows him to break defenders off with mean combinations of releases.
Dynasty Outlook: The Jets have been lacking a clear cut #1 receiver for a while, Denzel Mims doesn’t have anything on the current depth chart that should get in his way from earning that title. Potential as a gaudy presence inside of the red zone should make everyone considering investing first round dynasty draft capital feel at ease. This combination of size and speed usually doesn’t last this long in drafts, even the potential for a heavy target share could be a reality sooner than later with a couple breaks along the way during his rookie year. Sports Betting Dime currently places his odds at +3525 to take home the award for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.